Wondering how to avoid that college weight gain? Here are 15 tips!
This post is all about how to avoid freshman 15.
If you’re starting college this year or have already started, you’ve probably heard about the infamous freshman 15. And while there’s nothing wrong with gaining a few extra pounds here and there, let’s be honest: it’s not just about the weight, it’s also about feeling good! So let’s talk about how to avoid freshman 15 weight gain.
This post is all about how to avoid freshman 15.
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HOW TO AVOID FRESHMAN 15:
1. Don’t skip breakfast
I know this sounds like a basic tip, because everyone has heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But as a college student, I’ve found that there is really so much truth to this statement.
If you skip breakfast, you’re likely to get super hungry later in the day and end up opting for the quickest (usually least healthy) option you can.
But if you have a healthy breakfast first thing in the morning, especially focusing on getting some protein in, you won’t feel as hungry later and your body will be running off nutrients instead of an empty stomach that causes you to make hasty decisions about what you’re eating!
2. Keep healthy snacks in your dorm
I’m all about giving yourself a few guilty pleasure, unhealthy snacks as study motivation (my guilty pleasure is hot cheetos which I’m sure a lot of people can relate to ?) but it’s important to have MOSTLY healthy snacks on hand in your dorm room.
Here are a few healthy snack ideas that you can keep on hand:
- Granola or protein bars
- Carrots & hummus
- Fresh fruit
- Pitas & spinach dip
- Trail mix
- Roasted chickpeas
3. Don’t forget about alcohol
This isn’t so much a tip on what to do as it is a reminder. If you’re trying to figure out how to lose freshman 15 weight and it seems like nothing’s working, your alcohol consumption could be a factor.
Let’s be honest:
Alcohol is a big part of university for a lot of people, for better or for worse. It’s easy to forget how many calories you’re actually consuming with alcohol (especially if you’re having the sugary drinks).
It’s not to say you should never drink, but just to be mindful of what you’re consuming, how often, and how that might be impacting your health.
4. Drink water before your coffee
Drinking water in the morning before drinking/eating anything else is said to improve your digestive system and give a bunch of other health benefits.
That being said, this is one of the simplest ways to avoid freshman 15 weight and just be healthier overall. Plus, a little hydration never hurt anyone (quite the opposite, actually!)
5. Remember: Protein, fruits, + veggies
It’s not always practical to be on a full-on diet in college.
For one, you have very limited time if you’re a full-time student, and even less time if you’re also working a job on the side. It’s hard to take the time required to meal prep every meal and stay on a certain diet when you’re super tight for time.
On top of that, if you’re living on-campus, you’re likely eating at your school’s cafeteria or dining hall all the time. And while they likely have healthy options and dietary accommodations, let’s face it, your options are still limited and it’s hard to avoid certain foods.
So, one of the easiest ways to stay healthy and avoid freshman 15 weight gain is simply to make sure you’re getting some kind of protein, fruits, and veggies every day.
Whenever you’re ordering or cooking a meal, think, does this have protein? Fruit? Veggies? For example, opting for an omelet instead of a chocolate muffin, or a salad instead of fries, are great ways to make minor changes to your meals that will go a long way.
6. Don’t neglect sleep
Sleep is actually so important when it comes to being healthy and staying fit in college!
It might not always be possible, but aiming for a good 7-9 hours as often as you can is absolutely critical. Allowing yourself a sleep-in day every week is a great idea too, if you can!
7. Go for walks
Answering the question of how to stay fit in college doesn’t have to be complicated. One simple way to do it is simply to go for a walk whenever you have a free 20 minutes in your day, or when you need a study break.
Walking is such an underrated form of exercise and can actually make a huge difference to get the blood flowing and the metabolism working!
8. Figure out how much exercise you can handle
Obviously, one of the best solutions for how to lose freshman 15 weight is exercise.
The best way to make sure you exercise consistently is to plan your workouts ahead of time. Put it in your calendar and follow through. Whether you only have time for a 20 minute workout, or whether you have time for a whole hour, you’ll be able to determine what you can handle based on what your schedule looks like and then just mark it down so you actually get it done.
9. Limit the sugary lattes
We all need a little caffeine in college. Orrrr, a lot.
But if you’re the type of person who only drinks coffee and tea with lots of sugar, you might want to rethink that.
It’s totally reasonable to enjoy a latte from Starbucks every once in a while, but having those drinks every day (or even multiple times a day) can really put a damper on your fitness goals in college.
So, opt for black coffee, or coffee with just a bit of milk, or green tea. I know it’s less fun to drink if you don’t naturally like black coffee, but it’s worth it for your long-term goals!
10. Drink tea (and keep it in your dorm)
Similar to the last point, tea is a great alternative to coffee, and it’s nice to switch it up every once in a while, anyways.
If I’m having a late study night, instead of making another cup of coffee, I’ll opt for a green tea or black tea. Bonus points if you keep lots of tea options in your dorm room with a kettle so that you always have it on hand as a healthy alternative to coffee!
11. Something is better than nothing
Remember that you don’t have to have hour-long workouts every time you go to exercise. Something is better than nothing!
Even opting for a simple dorm room workout to get the blood flowing is better than doing nothing at all.
12. Focus on how you feel
Remember that when it comes to freshman 15 causes, it’s really about your body not getting the best nourishment (and rest) as it possibly can.
So when it comes to knowing how to avoid freshman 15 weight gain, it’s really about keeping your body healthy. Meaning, focus on how you feel and not just how you look.
How much energy do you have?
Are you able to focus in class and when studying?
Do you get sick easily, or have you been able to mostly keep healthy?
The answers to all these questions are great indicators into your overall health!
How you feel is what’s most important, anyways.
13. Keep a strict ‘eating out’ budget
Set a budget for how much money you can spend every week on eating out.
Not only will this help you save money, it will also ensure that you’re not eating out excessively which is obviously less healthy.
If you set your budget at $25 a week, that means you can really only eat out once or twice a week, which kinda forces you to keep healthy snacks on hand and avoid fast food restaurants!
While we’re on the topic, if you want an easy way to plan your budgets and save money in college, download our free budget planning template! Hundreds of college students use it already to plan their budget every month!
14. Manage your stress
Yep, stress can actually have an impact on your weight.
The stress of college is a pretty big shocker to a lot of freshmen. So, if you want to know how to avoid freshman 15 weight gain, managing your stress is a big part of it.
Some things that can help you do that?
Focus on managing your time well, taking breaks, spending time with friends and outdoors, exercising, and getting enough sleep. All those things are important aspects of stress management that are simple to do but go a long way.
15. Remember that it’s not a big deal
At the end of the day, remember that no matter how much you think you know about how to keep off the freshman 15, it might simply happen anyways, and that’s okay!
It’s very normal in college to gain some weight as you go through major life adjustments, lifestyle changes, and let’s be honest, struggle to keep your head above water sometimes.
Every college student goes through it, so if you’ve put on some extra weight by the end of freshman year, remember that it’s really not a big deal. Getting through college is enough of an accomplishment in itself!